This project aims at building an infrastructure to regulate the flow
of raw material and finished handicrafts between the craftswomen and
Consequently, bring about a commendable increase in the income
and standard of living of these poor craftswomen.
The beneficiaries are a large group of craftswomen who possess
skills in various handicrafts. These handicrafts are unique
representations of the arts of the Kutch district in Gujarat.
Since a long time the women in the villages of Kutch district have
engaged themselves in craftwork. Though this seems to have started as
a household pastime, these handicrafts have progressed to provide
livelihood to these villagers.
Agriculture is the chief occupation in this district. However,
since this region is often drought hit, these poor villagers are
forced to resort to alternative occupations like digging for clay,
etc. which does not pay well. During such times, these craftswomen are
forced to sell their crafts to the local traders at throwaway prices.
A deeper analysis of these persisting circumstances has lead to an
awareness among the craftswomen regarding the value of their crafts in
the market. They now understand that they are being exploited and so
feel the dire need for an infrastructure between themselves and the
market. SEWA has taken up the cause of building this foundation. They
implemented a similar project in the district of Banaskantha in 1989,
for which Radhanpur was the main center.
The plan is to have a main center at Bhuj, for the collection of
finished products. The main center has three subcenters in the
Nakhatrana, Abadasa and Lakhapat (alias Dayapur) blocks to support
it. Each of these blocks is further branched out into small DWCRA
groups consisting of the craftswomen. DWCRA (Development of Women and
Children in Rural Areas) is a government scheme to form small groups
of women who work together for a living. Once the finished crafts are
gathered at the main center, they are transported to a national
emporium in Ahmedabad. This emporium is essentially a SEWA outlet for
the crafts from Kutch and various other regions of Gujarat. All the
transportion is carried out using mobile collection vans. To roughly
understand the location of these subcenters, please see below.
SUBCENTER MAINCENTER EMPORIUM
Nakhatrana --060KM--> Bhuj
Abadasa --090KM--> Bhuj --450KM--> Ahmedabad
Lakhapat --120KM--> Bhuj
The DWCRA group leaders meet at a subcenter every fortnight and
discuss issues on rural development. They also pick up their raw
Costs related to raw materials, transportation of goods and
setting up an emporium are provided by the Department of Rural
Development (Government of Gujarat), UNICEF and NABARD. SEWA is
requesting financial assistance from AID to build the organizing team
(spearhead team), their transport and publicity of the crafts. Their
work schedule started in January 98 with SEWAs temporary financial
The organizing staff (spearhead team) will be employed from the
local communities. This is to ensure that the organizers be a part of
the villagers and understand the various issues better. SEWA trains
them in record keeping, marketing and quality control.
The handicrafts are categorized under embroidery, tye and dye, bead
work and leather work. Totally, there are 28 products in all these
categories. The craftswomen possess traditional skills in
embroidery. Based on the levels of their skills, they have been
categorized. Further, they receive training in order to upgrade their
existing skills and learn new ones. The various areas of training
include testing, practising, imprinting, quality checking, sample
making and many more.